Another OT post

I won't do this too often but every once in a while I will focus on some issues facing our region...

The gist of this article is that...

"The monies for rebuilding are coming first from private sources ... and that is definitely what is leading the recovery effort," says Doug Ahlers, a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "Government funding is slow to arrive and is ... not playing a leadership role."


"As of last week, New Orleans had received "zero" federal dollars for long-term community recovery, Mr. Blakely says."

Not that it's worth anything, but I believe generally the rest of the U.S. believes basically what Bush said he would do when he was broadcasting from Jackson Square is what he has done. I talk to a lot of people that think our city is now drowning in federal funding ie their tax money. And they are pissed about it. The Katrina fatigue, that has turned into spite in some cases, is mostly because the rest of America is uniformed.

Quickly here are some myths:
1. Rebuilding New Orleans is pointless because the city is below sea level and the next storm will wipe us out.

COUNTER: We have to maintain some sort of city and base of operations here. The oil industry uses this area as one of the major entry points into our country. Though many of their support business have already moved to Houston, New Orleans is still a critical staging area. Unfortunately, people and the businesses necessary to support the industry must be in our extended city's footprint. Our country needs a physical presence in this location--no matter the dangers. Who wants to pay $5.00 for a gallon of gas?

Also, our port is THE HUB to the Mississippi. Again, we can't just move all of these resources upriver to safer ground. This go around it is far cheaper to keep rebuilding the city around these vital NATIONAL interests then it is to move them all. Chiefly because they survived. It is also cheaper for us to build our Levees to CAT 5 protection then it is to move these resources upriver. Hopefully another storm won't wipe us out before we can protect us. Had Katrina been a head on CAT 5 and devestated everything, (based on the minimal protection we had) the right course of action would be to move the population upriver--unfortunately it's cheaper long run to maintain a presence here. And when I say cheaper, I mean cheaper for the American consumer and the taxpayer.

2. Federal money is being poured into our coffers but Louisiana has already misspent it and mishandled it.

COUNTER: The money promised us has not gotten here. FEMA working without oversight is by far the worst example of wasting money and losing it out of all the organizations. Federally, money has been tabbed for us, but Congressmen express surprise it has gotten to us and the answer is just red tape. 22 months removed and we are still dealing with red tape. The federal government's stance on flood vs. wind damage is also a dangerous one. They have told the LRA the federal government only supports reimbursing people for property damage incurred by flood damage and not wind damage. Nobody has made a big deal of this, but this caveat is one of admission.

What difference does it make it Joe Schmoe lost his house via wind damage or flood damage. If it's a tornado FEMA provides relief. Yet, in Louisiana if it was Katrina's winds there is no relief? Why... because the federal government is tacitly admitting they bare the responsibility for the levee breaches and are reimbursing the people that suffered the flood damage due to their negligence. Army Corps of Engineers had nothing to do with the wind so why should the government pay the tab.

Sorry, back to poker... but I will periodically speak on Katrina and you can track those posts through the topic list.


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